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6 Crazy Simple Steps to Start a Toy Rotation to be Clutter Free

Is your home being overtaken by toy clutter? Creating a toy library is the perfect plan to take back your control. Follow along as I show you how to start a toy rotation and storage system in 6 simple steps.

Be Clutter Free! How to set up a Toy Rotation and Storage System

As moms we all share two common fantasies:

  1. A clean house
  2. Kids who are happy all the time

Unfortunately, most of us start out as new parents preventing these two dreams from ever becoming a reality.

So, what do we do to sabotage ourselves?

We buy our kids a ton of toys.

It starts when we find out we are pregnant, then rolls right into the baby shower, followed by the holidays and their 1st birthday.

Suddenly, your entire house is full of toys. No matter what you do, there is always stuff everywhere.

You feel stressed out looking around your house, and become borderline OCD about keeping bedroom doors closed.

Even your Pinterest searches are focused on toy storage and organization ideas.

To make it even worse, the impact of toy clutter reaches far beyond having a messy house.

In my last post I shared why too many toys aren’t good for you or your children.

If your child is easily frustrated or has struggles to play independently too many toys may be the problem; and a toy rotation system is the perfect solution!

How to Set Up a Toy Rotation

1. Get rid of the garbage

Quickly go through their toys and toss anything that is broken or can no longer be used. Puzzles and games with missing pieces, markers without lids and anything that can’t be fixed.

2. Time for a quick purge

Now that the only things left are items that are actually usable, notice if there are any toys they no longer play with. These should be put in a bin to donate or sell. This is also the perfect time to get rid of anything that isn’t developmentally appropriate.Now is also a good time to ask for your child’s input. Learning basics of how to  declutter and minimalism will be helpful skills throughout their lifetime.

A great way to start is to ask them to choose a number of toys to donate, based on their age. So, you would ask your 5 year old, “Can you find five of your toys that you would like to give to another child who doesn’t have any toys?”  This teaches them about giving to others and also allows them to practice prioritizing their belongings.

Pssst! Hey mama – now is also the perfect time to sneak any toys that drive you crazy into the donation bin!

3. Sort the remaining toys into categories

This is another great time for your kiddos to get in on the process and learn how to set up a toy rotation.In this step you will work together to sort the toys into similar groups. Here are some possible grouping ideas:

  • Toy purpose: Sort toys into groups of moving toys, pretending toys and thinking toys.
  • Primary educational goal: Building toys, art supplies, dramatic play etc.
  • Toy type: Books, Blocks, Dolls, Cars, Puzzles etc.

This is a great point to get the kiddos involved.

Once the toys are sorted into categories allow the children to select a set number from each category. The number will vary depending on the number of children you have and their ages.

Simply say, “Please choose your 5 favorite cars.” This is a great way to to teach children about priorities and values early on.

When you follow this process you are able to get a good idea about what each child is drawn to. Which also helps you when you choose toys in the future.

This also helps you avoid keeping more toys than you need to. If none of your children put a certain toy in their “top 5” then there is no reason to keep it.

4. Create your toy bins

You can decide how many bins you want to set up to start your toy rotation. This will depend on

  • the number of children you have
  • the age(s) of your kiddos
  • how many toys they have

I suggest starting with about 4-6 bins, but the number could be higher or lower depending on your needs.

Start placing toys from one category into each of the bins, and continue this process until all of the toys have been divvied up. For example, if you have 8 dolls and you are creating 4 toy rotation bins, then each bin will only have 2 dolls.

5. Start rotating the toys

You will select one of the bins of toys that will stay for use immediately.

These toys should be set on display and easily accessible. This allows them to easily see what they have to play with and where it should be returned when they finish.Woot-woot! Who knew toy rotation would help them to keep their room clean?

All of the other bins you have created should be placed out of sight and reach of your children. A closet is ok, but a garage or basement is even better. Just be sure that you have easy access because they won’t be in storage forever.

You can decide ahead of time to rotate the toys according to a weekly or monthly schedule. In our home I simply watch and notice when my kiddos are ready to have some new experiences, or when they start asking to buy toys.

6. Create excitement and anticipation when it’s time to rotate the toys

Children love the feeling that something exciting is about to happen. That is why the holidays are such a magical time.You can easily create that same magical feeling when you start a toy rotation. Count down the days, have the new toys set out in the morning when they wake up, make a special snack or treat on toy rotation days.

Voila’ it’s like a free Christmas morning anytime of the year!

There you have it mama! 5 Simple Steps to plan and organize your own system for toy rotation and storage!

Looking for the best ideas to tackle toy storage and organization? Read this post to see why I strongly suggest that you start a toy rotation system. By sorting your children’s toys into bins and rotating them on a weekly or monthly basis you will have a quick and easy way to declutter. No more toy clutter taking over your home. Includes Montessori inspired toy rotation categories #declutter #toyrotation #minimalist


    1. Thanks Sondra! That is awesome that you have experience as a nanny. That will really help you when you have your own kids. You will definitely be ahead of the game if you start off knowing about decluttering and toy rotation. Having a plan and system in place to handle toy overload will really come in helpful!

  1. Yes! I am in the middle of a toy purge at the moment (the kids are at the grandparents ?) but I love your ideas to involve the kids. After your child picks toys to give to another child what do you do or where do you bring them?

    1. Great question! Whenever you do a big purge or a small decluttering session with the kids you can give them an option for what they would like to do. Perhaps you can tell them that you could have a yardsale or consign the toys and that they could earn the money for the sale (This is a huge incentive and typically they will immediately run into their room and want to get rid of all of their toys 😉 – Ha!) We have a local preschool that we also take the toys too. You can also look for local women’s shelters in your area – usually the children are there with the moms but if have no toys of their own. The benefits of teaching your children to be generous and how to stay organized and clutter free all through toy rotations is amazing!

  2. This is a great idea! I’ve been wanting to do a big toy purge and now I think I’ll add sorting for a toy rotation into the mix. The toy rotation will be so helpful with keeping the kids happy during summer vacation, too.

    1. Honestly, I started out with toy rotation when I wasn’t quite ready to do a big toy purge. However, once I realized how much I loved not having to pick up a ton of toys everyday I got hooked on decluttering. Now, I recommend what you are saying : a good declutter and a toy rotation. It’s the best of both worlds because you can still have variety without the overwhelm and stress of the clutter. I hope you have a great summer with your kiddos! If I didn’t declutter I don’t think I could make it through summer!

    2. THANK YOU! This will be sooooo helpfull for me. With 3 kids , toys are EVERYWHERE, even though we don’t buy them lots of toys.
      You can even find toys in my kitchen 😭. … building blocks and puzzles are the worst lol!

  3. I don’t have this problem since all the kids are gone. Will share with my daughter who is always struggling with toys. This will be very helpful.

    1. Thank you for sharing these tips with your daughter. Definitely let her know that she is not alone with her struggle to tame the toy clutter. We have all been there. The best thing I can say is that if you want to be relaxed and calm as a mom, all the junk is preventing that from happening. Instead of more toys she can give her kids the gift of a mom who has time to sit down and play because she isn’t picking up toys all the time!

  4. This is fantastic! My daughter is only 8 months but the mess and clutter everywhere is driving me nuts and I know it will just get worse over time! Thank you for the ideas ?

    1. Yes, the clutter will get worse if you get a plan in place now. That is exactly what happened in our house. I just thought that was what motherhood was supposed to be; toys and clutter everywhere. It ended up making me cranky, stressed and anxious – totally not what being a mom is all about. Since you recognize the problem so early you will be able to use toy rotations and other strategies early and your child will never know the difference and will be so happy to have a variety of toys to play with (minus the stress and overwhelmed mom).

  5. Really want to try this. Where do you keep the toys as now we have it in the living room, in our office ro and in their room as well. Just can’t decide where to keep it best.

    1. Hi Veronika! It’s hard to say where the “best” place is to keep the toys. Without seeing your space, I would suggest keeping them where most of the playing happens. If that’s in the living room, then you can keep the toys there so that it’s convenient. At the same time, if it drives you crazy to have toys stored in the living room, then you can always put the bins in the bedroom or office and just pull out one bin to whatever area is being used for play. I hope that helps!

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